Help Me!

I ran to the phone box in my pajamas that dark, late night. It had been raining and my bare feet slipped on the wet leaves, fallen from the giant oak trees that leaned in towards me, waving their branches like the shackled arms of helpless ancient slaves.

Twice I fell and skinned my knees but I didn’t feel any pain at all. There wasn’t time to think about the grit in the bloody cuts.  There wasn’t time to think about why my sister wasn’t moving, lying back there on her bedroom floor where my Mum found her. There was only time to call for an ambulance from the pay phone.

The screams that night were different. They weren’t like the howls of the little girl who screamed in the attic, abandoned there by the gypsy people. That’s why I didn’t bury my head under the blanket and pray to God to make them stop.

Our Father which art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Deliver us from evil.

For the love of God.

And then I knew it was my Mum. She was screaming for me to come and help her. She was sheltering my sister’s head in her arms, like she was a baby again. And I looked around the room to see if that evil thing was still there. The evil thing that had harmed my sister, the way she always said it would. The evil thing that could come into her head and tell her to kill herself. Or kill us all.

And when the woman answered the phone, I shouted in-between desperate breaths, “Help me! Please send an ambulance! Help me! I think my sister is dead.”

And the giant oak trees leaned further in as I ran back home.


  1. As usual, John, so compelling. As I said before, I think this book will be great and now I can’t wait to read it.

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